Athletes, Coaches Tesitfy in "Heroes of Faith, Volume II"
- 2006 31 Oct
Title: "Heroes of Faith, Volume II"
Author: Doug Greengard
Publisher: Taylor-Brooke Media, Inc.
Wisdom comes from many places. You may be surprised to learn that the mouths of athletes is one of those places.
"Heroes of Faith, Volume II," a book by sportscaster and motivational speaker Doug Greengard, is full of the best kind of wisdom: biblical. The book is a compilation of testimonies by athletes and coaches, both active and retired – and to read how deeply God has touched their lives is encouraging and, when you're around sports as much as I am, a bit surprising.
Life can be hard even when you're paid millions to play a sport. NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer lost his five-year-old son to a heart ailment in 2003, and Dilfer has bounced around the league as a backup since leading Baltimore to the Super Bowl XXXV title.
"I have really struggled with pride throughout my life," Dilfer said in the book, "and if football would have come easy for me, I would not have followed Him and trusted Him the way I needed to. And He, by His love, has allowed me to go through some hard times so I would be dependent on him completely."
I imagine pride is a huge problem for big-time athletes, which isn't surprising. So much attention is given them, it's hard for them not to focus on themselves. So a Christian athlete can distinguish himself or herself by putting pride aside and clinging to Christ in a visible way. Ervin Johnson, who plays for the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA, understands this.
"Others should be able to distinguish between our attitude and the fruit we bear," he said. "If we bear good fruit, others will be able to see it. We have to stay connected to the vine."
Said fellow NBAer Derrick Fisher, "I think it's impossible to be complete without Jesus being the centerpiece where everything revolves around Him."
Those are words you might not expect to hear a pro athlete say. It's refreshing to hear some talk that way. The people in this book are the ones who make headlines only for doing something on the court or field, nor for getting put in handcuffs or spouting off ignorantly about not being paid enough.
And I don't think these athletes treat scripture as simply good advice. One senses that Major League pitcher Paul Byrd is a real student of the Word.
"People say God won't give you more than you can handle," Byrd said. "I've never read that verse. He says you'll have trouble. I feel that He gives you more than you can handle, so you'll be dependent on Him."
There are so many other comments like this throughout the book that show how God can work through anyone in any vocation. It reminds me of what Coach Grant Taylor, in the movie "Facing the Giants," told his players when they asked if God cared about football.
"If you live out your faith on the field," Taylor tells his players, "then yes, God cares about football, because He cares about you."
What Greengard does with this book is simple. He asks athletes about what their faith means to them, and he illustrates how powerfully God can work even in a me-first environment. Each portrait of faith – there are 28 in this volume – is about two pages long, and they are packed with the kind of biblical wisdom every one of us needs to hear.
© 2006 AgapePress. All rights reserved. Used with permission.